The first years of my life were spent, like Lao Tzu, in experiencing the mysteries of the tamas guna. My attachment with Lao Tzu is, therefore, fundamental. I was inactive in everything; inactivity was the achievement sought by me. As far as possible, nothing was done – only as much as was unavoidable or compulsory. I did not so much as move a hand or a foot without a reason.
In my house, the situation was such that my mother sitting before me would say, “Nobody else can be found and I want to send someone to fetch vegetables from the market.” I would hear this as I sat idly in front of her. I knew that even if the house was on fire, she would say to me, “No one else can be found and our house is on fire. Who will extinguish it?” But silently, the only thing I did was to watch my inactivity as a witness, in full awareness. Let me narrate some incidents to illustrate this point.
In the last year of my university education, there was one professor of philosophy. Like most professors of philosophy, he was obstinate and eccentric. He was obstinate in his determination not to see any woman. Unfortunately we were only two students in his class: one was myself and the other was a young girl. Therefore, this professor had to teach us while keeping his eyes closed.
This was a very lucky thing for me, because while he would give a lecture I would sleep in the class. Because there was a young girl in the class he could not open his eyes. However, the professor was very pleased with me, because he thought that I also believed in the principle of not looking at women, and that in the whole university there was at least one other person who did not see women. Therefore, many times when he met me alone he told me that I was the only person who could understand him.
But one day this image of me was erased. The professor had one other habit. He did not believe in a one-hour period for his lectures. Therefore, he was always given the last period by the university. He would say, “It is in my hands when to begin a lecture, but it is not in my hands to end it.” Therefore, his lecture might end in sixty minutes or eighty or even ninety minutes; it made no difference to him. He would say that he would not necessarily cease to speak when the bell indicating the end of a period rang. Only when the subject begun was completed would he cease to speak. Therefore, during these eighty to ninety minutes I used to sleep in his class.
There was an understanding between that young girl and myself that she would wake me up when the period was almost at an end. One day, however, she had been called by someone for some urgent work during the middle of the period, and she went away. I kept on sleeping and the professor went on lecturing. When the period was over and he opened his eyes, he found me sleeping. He woke me up and asked why I was sleeping. I said to him, “Now that you have found me sleeping, I would like to tell you that I have been sleeping daily, that I have no quarrel with young women and that it is very pleasurable to sleep while you are lecturing.”